tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC September 5, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
>> it's known for letting visitors get up close tonight, the stunning letter published late today by "the new york times." from someone reportedly inside the trump administration. it reads like a warning from within. an unprecedented letter, a senior official telling americans, quote, "they should know that there are adults in the room and that we fully recognize what's happening. we are trying to do what's right, even when donald trump won't." tonight, you will hear the president's blistering response just a short time ago. and we ask "the new york times," why publish an anonymous letter? what was behind their decision? also tonight, supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh grilled on capitol hill at his confirmation hearing, asked, should the president have to comply with a subpoena, and can a president pardon themselves? judge kavanaugh also pressed on guns and a woman's right to choose.
the major storm gordon slamming the gulf coast and now barrelling inland tonight, turning deadly. a toddler has been killed. in new york city, a flight quarantined at jfk. the mystery illness effecting nearly a dozen passengers and crew. more than 500 passengers met by police and the cdc. the deadly poison plot in the uk tonight. authorities declaring it was russian intelligence officers. and now, they're showing the surveillance images they say prove it. the perfume bottle. the moment the two men board a flight back to moscow. and here at home tonight, the driver intentionally ramming his pickup truck into a tv station while they were on the air. good evening, and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy wednesday night. and we begin with that unprecedented move, something we have never seen before. a letter published late today by "the new york times" written by someone inside the trump administration, an anonymous senior official describing what it's like inside this white house, inside this
administration. saying, "i work for the president, but like-minded colleagues and i have vowed to thwart part of the president's agenda and his worst inclinations." the senior official writing in that letter, "we know what is happening," adding, quote, "there is a quiet resistance within the administration to put country first." tonight, the president tweeting just moments ago a one-word question. treason? and it all comes 24 hours after bob woodward's bombshell book. abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl leading us off. >> reporter: in his call with bob woodward, donald trump gave a rave review of his performance as president. >> nobody's ever done a better job than i'm doing as president, that i can tell you. >> reporter: but now, an historic act of defiance from somebody who works for the president. in an op-ed published in "the new york times," an unnamed senior administration official writes, "i work for the president. but like-minded colleagues and i have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." the official paints a grim scene.
"it's not just that the special counsel looms large," he writes. "or that the country is bitterly divided over mr. trump's leadership. the dilemma, which he does not fully grasp, is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. we believe our first duty is to this country. and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. the root of the problem is the president's amorality." the unnamed official offers a devastating portrayal of trump the president. "the president's leadership style is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective. senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief's comments and actions. meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails. he engages in repetitive rants. and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions
that have to be walked back." the writer says the president has betrayed values long held by republicans, particularly in his approach to foreign policy. "president trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as vladimir putin and kim jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations." the official says there are two forces in the trump presidency, the president himself and the aides working quietly to block his actions. "this isn't the work of the so-called deep state," he writes. "it's the work of the steady state. the bigger concern is not what mr. trump has done to the presidency, but rather, what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. we have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility." the op-ed contends top administration officials are trying to save the country from the president they serve. "americans should know there are adults in the room. we fully recognize what is happening.
and we are trying to do what's right even when donald trump won't. there is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first." today, the president blasted the anonymous official as, quote, "gutless." >> nobody has ever done, in less than a two-year period, what we've done. so, when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who's failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons, now -- and "the new york times" is failing. if i weren't here, i believe "the new york times" probably wouldn't even exist. >> reporter: this devastating attack from within comes just 24 hours after a first look at a bob woodward book that paints a similar portrait. talking about a, quote, "administrative coup d'etat" by the president's own top advisers. the book even describes one top aide swiping a sensitive document off the president's desk, believing the president
wouldn't even know it. the official quoted saying, "got to protect the country." the book describes defense secretary jim mattis as exasperated. after trump repeatedly questioned the cost of america's large military presence on the korean peninsula, woodward says mattis bluntly told the president, "we're doing this in order to prevent world war iii." according to woodward, mattis later told close associates the president "had the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader." mattis denied using such contemptuous words, and the president today called woodward's book a piece of fiction. >> the book means nothing. it's a work of fiction. if you look back at woodward's past, he had the same problem with other presidents. he likes to get publicity, sell some books. >> the president reacting to that book, now reacting to this letter in "the new york times." let's get right to jon karl, live at the white house tonight. and jon, this was an extraordinary move by "the new york times," to publish this letter by someone they describe
as a senior administration official, particularly because the person didn't sign their name, the writer remains anonymous tonight. i know our team reached out to "the times" to find out what went into their decision-making here. how are they explaining their decision tonight? >> reporter: well, "the times" says this official wanted to remain anonymous, and they believed that publishing the essay anonymously was, quote, "the only way to deliver an important perspective to our audience." but as you pointed out, the president is suggesting this is treason, and the white house is saying that whoever this official is should resign immediately. david? >> jon karl live at the white house, leading us off. jon, our thanks to you, as always. and across town on capitol hill tonight, supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh and the heated confirmation hearing today. questioned directly for the first time at his hearing. judge kavanaugh was asked, does a president have to comply with a subpoena? and can a president pardon themselves? how he answered. it made immediate headlines today. and he was also pressed on guns and on a woman's right to choose. terry moran has covered the court for years for us, and he was in the room today. >> reporter: day two, judge brett kavanaugh arriving for a
grueling round of questioning. >> but today is different. >> reporter: despite the occasional outbursts, this hearing finally got down to issues, and the dominant issue today, the shadow looming over kavanaugh for many democrats, whether president trump picked him so he would to rule in the president's favor in any cases stemming from special counsel robert mueller's investigation. kavanaugh offered a personal declaration of independence. >> no one is above the law in our constitutional system. >> reporter: democrats weren't satisfied. and they drilled down. what if the president himself is subpoenaed to testify? kavanaugh ducked. >> can a sitting president be required to respond to a subpoena? >> i can't give you an answer on that hypothetical question. >> reporter: other democrats kept pressing the nominee. >> president trump claims he has an absolute right to pardon himself. does he? >> that's a hypothetical question that i can't begin to answer in this context as a
sitting judge and as a nominee to the supreme court. >> reporter: another issue, guns and kavanaugh's strong pro-second amendment views. senator dianne feinstein asking about kavanaugh's ruling striking down washington, d.c.'s assault weapons ban. again, the nominee ducked. >> how do you reconcile what you just said with the hundreds of school shootings using assault weapons that have taken place in recent history? >> handguns and semiautomatic rifles are weapons used for hunting and self-defense. but as you say, senator, you rightly say, they're used in a lot of violent crime and cause a lot of deaths. that's what makes this issue difficult. >> reporter: on abortion, another evasen he was asked whether roe v wade could be overruled if he is confirmed. >> i understand the importance that people attach to the roe v wade decision, to the planned parenthood versus casey decision. i don't live in a bubble. i understand -- i live in the real world.
>> reporter: as the protests continued to punctuate the hearings, republicans tried to lighten the tone. >> when all of this is said and done, and your time is up, how would you like to be remembered? >> a good dad, a good judge. >> good husband? >> i think he's getting there. >> good husband. >> thanks, dianne. you helped him a lot. going to be better for you tonight. >> a rare bipartisan moment there, terry. you witnessed it all on capitol hill today. but keep us honest here, terry. how long are these hearings expected to last, and when are we going to see a vote here? >> reporter: david, the hearings will last until the end of the week. the committee will vote on september 20th and the full senate, by the end of the month. the republicans have this thing on rails and right now, they've got the votes. david? >> terry moran back with us from capitol hill tonight. thank you, terry. we're going to move on now to that deadly storm gordon
slamming ashore and now moving inland tonight. it will combine forces with another system moving across the country. hurricane force wind gusts and a powerful storm surge battering dauphin island. that's in alabama. ripping apart buildings. that storm now a tropical depression at this hour, and its destructive force is on the move across several states. abc's victor oquendo from the storm zone tonight. >> reporter: tonight, gordon deadly and marching inland, bringing heavy rain and dangerous flash flooding. in alabama, a direct hit to dauphin island, making official landfall in mississippi as a tropical storm at 10:15 p.m. tuesday. >> seriously. we got to get out of here. >> reporter: up to five feet of storm surge. ferocious winds ripping buildings apart and hurling debris. gordon's destruction visible at daybreak. tens of thousands losing power in the region. we're coming across a lot of downed trees here in pensacola. just take a look at the size of this one, now blocking the street. one tree crashing down into a
family's home here. >> i ran over there to see if i could help them and they said that their baby was trapped under there and he was crying. >> reporter: tragically, that child did not survive. david, right now, tropical storm gordon is pulling in these strong bands of rain from the gulf of mexico. it damaged and shut down this pier along pensacola beach. while it has moved further inland, we're still looking at more rain and the chance of isolated tornadoes in this area tonight. we are not out of the woods yet. david? >> that is clear. victor, thank you. let's get right to senior meteorologist rob marciano, tracking it all for us tonight. rob? >> reporter: hey, david. the problem with gordon is, it's hit the brakes, so, it's moving real slow. check out where the center is, right over jackson, mississippi. there's those bands that victor mentioned. and it's really going to take really right through the weekend to spin itself into the great lakes. and it's going to bump up against a couple of fronts, really squeezing more tropical moisture out of there. from little rock to st. louis to cleveland, another four to eight inches possible, flooding potential there. a very active atlantic ocean. likely another storm, plus
hurricane florence, now a category 4 storm, david. we'll be watching that very closely into next week. david? >> rob marciano, our thanks to you, as well. rob, thank you. now, to that emergency at jfk airport here in new york city. dozens of people on an incoming flight quarantined. the cdc right there waiting, all because of a mystery illness onboard. the double decker jet placed in that quarantine while health officials in masks and gloves screened everyone onboard. at least ten people were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. and gio benitez is there tonight. >> reporter: tonight, tense moments on the tarmac. a plane quarantined, surrounded by authorities, with initial reports of more than 100 sick passengers onboard. >> we still need to have the aisles -- and no baggage in the aisles. >> reporter: more than 500 people traveling from dubai to new york's jfk met by police and cdc health officials. the plane kept away from the terminal while the mystery illness was investigated. rap and reality star vanilla ice on the jet, too, posting these images on twitter. >> a couple people got ill on
the plane and it must be pretty serious. >> reporter: three passengers and seven crew members sent to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. medical personnel then taking each passenger's temperature before letting them go onto customs. were you concerned at that point? >> no. i mean, it was rather scary to look at them. they're all in masks when we got off the plane. there were, of course, ambulances. >> this incident highlights a real concern, where, in this day and age, anybody can be at any other spot in the world within a matter of hours before public health officials can have a chance to react. >> reporter: and david, the health department now believes this was probably the flu, but they're still waiting on final test results to come in later tonight. david? >> gio benitez with us from new york. gio, thank you. and there was a senate hearing today about foreign adversaries and their influence on social media here in this country, especially targeting u.s. elections. facebook coo sheryl sandberg and twitter ceo jack dorsey answering questions today, were they prepared and what are they doing now?
>> we were too slow to spot this and too slow to act. we are more determined than our opponents, and we will keep fighting. >> reporter: both executives saying they are now shutting down phony accounts by the millions. and not at the hearing today, google. their seat empty because the committee refused to hear from anyone other than one of their two top executives. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this wednesday. the warning about a popular cereal. new cases of salmonella now being reported tonight. also, the pickup truck driver slamming into a tv station during a live newscast. the emergency evacuations that followed and what we've learned tonight. also, the new nike ad featuring colin kaepernick is now out tonight. you'll see the first look here. why it's causing so much controversy. and the new headline tonight about that actor from "the cosby show" photographed working at trader joe's and later shamed because of it. well, tonight, so many people have stood up for him, and the news coming in, what's happened now? you'll want to see this.
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ad featuring colin kaepernick, set to run during the nfl season opener tomorrow night. here's abc's eva pilgrim. >> if people say your dreams are crazy -- >> reporter: tonight, nike's new controversial ad is out. former nfl quarterback colin kaepernick voicing the campaign called "dream crazy," standing in front of the flag. >> believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. >> reporter: it was kneeling in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem that he says cost him his career. the president, a vocal critic of the anthem protests, tweeting, "nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts." >> sorry, nike. >> reporter: some fans even burning shoes. the ad featuring the achievements of everyday athletes and superstars. >> become the greatest athlete ever. >> reporter: like serena williams. >> yeah, that's more like it. >> reporter: and lebron james, who spoke out in support. >> i stand with nike every day, all day. >> so don't ask if your dreams
are crazy. >> reporter: nike defending their choice of kaepernick, saying he, quote, "is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation." and nike's new ad campaign will air this week during sporting events including the u.s. open, major league baseball and that nfl season opener tomorrow, david. >> eva pilgrim, thank you. when we come back here tonight, the popular cereal, and the salmonella warning tonight. and that driver smashing into a tv station while they were on the air. and then the emergency evacuations that followed. we'll be right back. can make you feel unstoppable. ♪ but mania, such as unusual changes in your mood, activity or energy levels, can leave you on shaky ground. help take control by talking to your doctor. ask about vraylar. vraylar is approved for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar i disorder in adults. clinical studies showed that vraylar reduced overall manic symptoms.
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to the index of other news tonight, and the deadly poison plot in the uk. a former russian spy and his daughter survived the attack. another woman, though, died later. well, now british investigators tonight revealing two suspects by name and by surveillance. they say they are two russian intelligence officers who boarded a plane back to moscow two days after arriving there. the russian government, despite these photos, still denying it. the driver ramming into a tv station in dallas. police say michael fry
repeatedly smashed into the side of the fox station while its morning news was on the air. he was rambling when arrested. no one was hurt. and the consumer alert tonight. the cdc urging customers not to eat kellogg's honey smacks because of a salmonella outbreak. 130 cases now reported in 36 states. when we come back, the actor, you'll know him, and the photo that sparked a huge conversation across this country. what's now happened tonight.
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so many americans have reacted to his story. the former actor from "the cosby show." >> may i see her? >> sure. >> today? >> reporter: the huxtable son-in-law, elvin, played by geoffrey owens. this week, we learned of those photos taken of him, now working at trader joe's in between acting jobs to support his family. someone recognized him, took the photos and he was later shamed for working there. so many workers around the country, some of them famous, some not, all standing up for him. and he told our friend robin roberts, this is really about dignity for the american worker. >> i hope what doesn't pass is this idea that people are now thinking this rethinking about what it means to work, you know, the honor of the working person and the dignity of work. so, no one has to feel sorry for me, i'm doing fine. >> geoffrey owens, ladies and gentlemen. geoffrey owens. >> no, it's true.
>> well said. >> reporter: tonight, the woman who took those photos says she now regrets it. and tyler perry, the famous actor and filmmaker -- >> i have been sitting by the phone my friend. >> reporter: -- now says he has a big project coming, tweeting geoffrey, "i'm about to start shooting. come join us." tyler telling robin why it struck a chord for him. >> oh, are you kidding me? i have such a tremendous respect for a man, number one, who is -- who has no pride about working. he's going to do what he has to do to support his family. >> reporter: but whether he's at trader joe's or on-set, respect tonight for that actor, sending a message that every american worker should be proud. hear, hear. an important conversation this week. we thank you for watching here on a wednesday night. i'm david muir. i hope to see you right back here tomorrow. have a good evening. good night. breaking news. a wildfire shuts down i-5 near redding, and this truck
passenger has a front row seat as the raging flames nearly engulf dozens of vehicles stranded on a a pre. a mea culpa from major tech titans. hear from the top executives who testified on capitol hill today. the journey has been quite incredible. >> an incredible journey. he survived a plane crash that two other people did not. and today he's going home from a south bay hospital. also here, leaning and sinking might not be the only problems with san francisco's troubled high-rise the millennium tower. we're live with the newest issue happening 36 stories up. >> now from abc 7, live breaking news. >> outside just caught on fire. we cannot stay right here! we can't stay right here, baby. we got to walk. >> witness video gives you a sense of the fear this fire is causing as flames surround a highway and shut down interstate >> the wildfire is forcing evacuations at an intense rate. >> here is a look at where it's
burning in shasta county. north of redding and not far interest the shasta trinity national forest. good evening. i'm dan ashley. >> and i'm ama daetz. abc reporter lilian kim is tracking the spread of this fire. >> the video coming from shasta county is terrifying. one woman on interstate 5 posted video of the fire which is spreading fast. they're calling it the delta fire, and the latest video we're getting from an instagram user. she was caught in the middle of the freeway when flames began burning dangerously close to i-5 which is now closed in both directions from 10 miles north of redding to an area four miles south of mt. shasta. the flames broke out this afternoon and so far the fire has exploded to as many as a thousand acres. the shasta that county fire department is conducting evacuations on both sides of the freeway. several motorists have been rescued, and there has been at least one person injured. >> oh my god, i want to go! brandon, we got to get out and